Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Thai Food Birthday Celebration at Jack Tree Restaurant in Colombo

My colleague and walking buddy Carlo just celebrated his birthday last Saturday. He treated us to a very exciting dinner with a cuisine so close to his heart – Thai Foods. Carlo stayed in Bangkok, Thailand for so many years that he has developed fascination and love of the aromatic-sweet-fiery taste of Thai cuisine. Now that he has been assigned in Sri Lanka for quite some time, it is no doubt that he has been missing the pride dishes of Thailand big time.

What a better way to re-live that long-missed dining experience he used to have regularly than in celebrating his most important day that comes just once a year? …… And we are more than delighted and willing to join him …… to contribute in the fun …… as he savors the unique flavors. For we know, with Thai foods tickling our taste buds …… it is not just happy but a really very spicy birthday. :-)

Known before as the Siamese cuisine, Thai food is the national cuisine of Thailand. Generally composed of lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components and pronounced spiciness, Thai cuisine is among the fastest-growing and most popular world cuisines today. Amazingly, it has established quite a following in the international food scene. Yes, Carlo is among the avid ones and probably will include us very soon. A few more dinner treats from Carlo and it is very likely that we could be a full pledge convert - lovers not only of Filipino cuisine but also of Thai foods.

Thai food is basically prepared light. It has tantalizing flavor and richness but without all the heavy carbs & calories. Like most Asian foods, it is known for its balance of the fundamental taste senses such as sour, sweet, salty and bitter. The significant influences of its neighboring countries such as China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Burma, and Malaysia can be easily traced in its dishes …… blending flavors and cooking techniques that make Thai food truly wonderful. We can’t blame Carlo for loving it so much.

There are several Thai restaurants in Colombo, Sri Lanka but Carlo chose Jack Tree for us to sample their takes on the popular Thai cuisine. The place is not so big or heavily decorated but quite clean, cozy and comfortable. We were informed by the head waiter that authentic Thai chefs were at the helm in the kitchen, probably to build up our confidence and condition our mind that we are in the right place …… and about to indulge in genuine Thai food experience.

Apparently the restaurant still does not have license to sell liquor but we were allowed by the waiters to buy some beer in the grocery across the street and they happily served it along our dishes. We can’t imagine having a toast for Carlo’s birthday with plain water. :-)

There were several groups of customers already seated waiting for their meals when we arrived, both expats and locals. Several more expats arrived in groups as we wait for the food.

Carlo’s chosen dishes represent not just the most popular but probably the most suited to our Filipino taste. For soup, we have the famous Tom Yam Goong or Tom Yam Kung. It is a hot and sour soup with prawn, lemon grass, galangal, kaffir leaf and mushroom. Considered the “sinigang” of Thailand, I've had this many times but it still continues to amaze me.

For salad, Carlo ordered Som Tum Thai, a grated green papaya salad with chili, peanut and Thai dressing sauce; while for appetizer he teased us with Gai Hor Bai Toey or Srewpine (“pandan”) Leaf Chicken, a marinated chicken with Thai herbs, sesame seeds, wrapped in “pandan” leaves then fried. This flavorful chicken dish has been in my “to cook” list for a long time and I think it’s about time I give it a go.

For our main meal Carlo wants only the best so he provided us with veggie, noodle and fish triple treat dishes. We had Phad Pak Boong or stir fried kankun (“kangkong”) with chili garlic sauce; the famous which I love Phad Thai Goong or Phat Thai, a stir fried flat noodles with prawns, bean sprouts, egg, tofu and peanut; and of course the special Pla Neung Manow or Grouper in Thai Sauce, a steamed grouper (“lapu-lapu”) with garlic, fresh chili, coriander and Thai sauce. All of these are awesome. So yum yum!

For dessert, we were supposed to get Khao Niao Mamuang or sticky (glutinous) rice cooked in sweetened thick coconut milk or coconut cream and served with slices of ripe mangoes but we were quite full already so we just settled to a plate of fresh fruits.

It was really a night of good food, worthy conversation and …… truly a grand time. We wish to once again greet our friend Carlo a very Happy Birthday …… “Maligayang Kaarawan” in the Philippine language …… and of course having just eaten a lot of Thai foods by all means I have to do it in Thai which goes “Sook Sun Wan Gerd”. I just hope I got that correctly. :)

While all food was flavorful, tasty and gorgeously prepared, the following are my favorites and I really would not mind Carlo giving me another bite any day soon, lol:

Phad Pak Boong

Phad Thai Goong

Gai Hor Bai Toey

We will be preparing and sharing here some nice Thai dishes very soon. Wait for it! c“,)


  1. I like Phad Pak Boong...

    1. after my first bite, i knew you'll like it .... :-)

  2. so yummy foods. I wanna visit there and celebrate my birthday there too, just like my favorite restaurant in Brooklyn that I always coming back.



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